Has Spying Compromised the Separation of Powers and Liberty?

by Mark Fitzgibbons

Founding Father James Madison informs us in “Federalist 51” that the separation of powers “to a certain extent is admitted on all hands to be essential to the preservation of liberty.” The checks and balances intended by having three branches of government, and the federalism dichotomy between a national government and the states, were brilliant developments in protecting liberty by compartmentalizing governing powers.

Most Americans can easily identify the three branches of government. Three principals, however, actually wield power under the Constitution: the federal government, states, and We the People. Only the first two of those principals are directly regulated by the Constitution, which our fourth chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, described in a separation of powers case as our “fundamental and paramount law.”

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